Emotional Dependency

Love can be exhilarating, especially at the very beginning of a relationship. Everything you experience with your partner feels so new and overall amazing, and you think how nothing can go wrong. Well some things can go wrong, including complete emotional dependency on your partner.

Defining dependency

Emotional dependency is when a person allows others (like a significant other) to affect their feelings and emotions, and depends on them for happiness, etc. This is giving complete control to others over another persons own emotions. This is unhealthy and can negatively impact self-esteem, since self-esteem is dependent on others. This is different from having a balanced relationship, where two people have interdependence and allow other to affect them only slightly emotionally. According to one relationship site, it is impossible to love others and not give them some control, but there needs to be a balance. Complete independence does not allow people to form connections with others.
Emotional Dependency can act as “an emotional and behavioural condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship.”




Dependency as a broad definition is “dependence on the needs of or control by another,”. However, in the psychological sense, it is “a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition.”

Some signs of Emotional Dependency in a relationship are:

  • Becoming very close, very quick.
  • Lack of peace, a sense that something is really wrong, a sense of impending doom, knowledge in your heart that this isn’t healthy
  • Mood extremes, euphoria to depression
  • Tormented by the other person’s troubles, not able to be in a good mood when the other person is in a bad mood, equating grief for the other person with love for the other person 
  • Obsessing; thinking about the other person takes up too much time every day, worrying about the other person 
  • The intense nature of the relationship makes the other person feel uncomfortable, or makes those around us feel uncomfortable
  • Defining the relationship repeatedly. Most people just let the relationship be what it is, unfolding naturally
  • Distressed every time the other person draws away a little, insecurity, manipulation, drama, not allowing for the natural ebb and flow of normal relationship
  • Sexual tension, excessive physical contact, sexual activity
  • Overemphasis on intense conversation, and an absence of small talk
  • Trying to save the other person becomes the major project in life, a desire to be needed by the other person in order to keep them close*
  • Dramatic expressions of affection… gifts, cards, flattering words
  • Financial over-involvement
  • Taking on the interests and the characteristics of the other person as my own interests or characteristics
  • Feeling trapped by an obligation to the other person because of their problems
  • Making them the centre of happiness, unable to imagine life without them


Feel free to call me on  087 653 8837 for more information or to schedule an assessment.

Siobhan Leijen

Siobhan Leijen

I am a certified professional therapist offering counselling to clients in the Athlone and Longford area. CBT Certified, Degree in Addiction Studies, Diploma in Psychotherapy, Family Therapy Certified, Motivational Interview Certified, Trauma Therapy Certified and EMDR Certified.

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